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Finding an outfit for $20

Modrowski created her stylish outfit with budget finds at Goodwill.

Modrowski created her stylish outfit with budget finds at Goodwill.

Abigail Sullivan / IC

Abigail Sullivan / IC

Modrowski created her stylish outfit with budget finds at Goodwill.

Emily Modrowski, Fashion Columnist

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If you’re anything like me, then a dream of yours is to find a cute outfit for less than $20. A lot of us love to express ourselves with fashion, but let’s face the harsh reality: we’re college kids and money doesn’t always come easy.

Never fear, fashion does not always have to mean breaking the bank. Your dream of finding an outfit for under $20 can be reality, and to prove it, I ventured into my local Goodwill with a mission in mind. My goal: walk into Goodwill with nothing more than $20 in my pocket, and leave with a complete outfit.

Rule number one of shopping in thrift stores is patience. You’ve got to be willing to individually sift through each piece of clothing carefully or else you could miss out on some gems. You also need to pay attention to stains, snags and rips.

The fashionable items are a diamond in the rough, hidden among the pastel, flower-embroidered shirts that smell like they soaked in your grandmother’s perfume. Don’t give up; good things come to those who wait, and to those who have the patience to mill through someone’s old Hawaiian vacation T-shirts.

The first find was a red-and-black houndstooth-patterned skirt. Houndstooth is one of my favorite patterns because it’s classic Cruella de Vil. Houndstooth is just one of those patterns I think will always be in style. The skirt can easily be dressed up or dressed down depending on what you pair it with, which is really nice because an item like that makes it versatile. You can create countless outfits, and it was only $3.

Next, I found an awesome black blazer that fit me. A black blazer is a staple item for any wardrobe, but this one had a bit more of a modern cut and had a flared-open front. It’s way more flowy and freeing than a traditional black blazer — not so stuffy. Paired with the skirt, the blazer added a bit more of a sophisticated look instead of merely casual. It only cost me $6.

But I couldn’t just wear a blazer without a top: I needed something to tie it all together, so I went with a plain white camisole tank top. Black would have worked nicely too, but since I liked the blazer I found so much, I wanted it to pop. A white cami against a black blazer would allow that to happen. It was a good way to showcase the more important parts of the outfit, the skirt and the blazer — and it was only $2.

I pulled the whole ensemble together with black tights and little black Chelsea-style booties. Black on black made for a sleek look.

Altogether, I only spent $11 on my whole outfit from Goodwill. I even had $9 left over, so I could have gotten a pair of shoes to go with the outfit, but I couldn’t find any in my size. I guess there are some pits, but overall, 9/10 would recommend for college students looking to pinch pennies and stay stylish on a budget.

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